Mocha #1: I still [miss] Remember You…

I declutter.

Facebook was finally on the chopping block.

Time to leave all the pages I never visit, the people I’d forgotten I’d followed, the groups I graduated past.

And then I found a page I was still following. And I remembered why.

So, this is for you.


I remember your smile and humor.

The ginger child on the bus when we carpooled to the christian (xian) private school in the middle of farmland. I still remember your smile and laugh, how silly you were. The pranks, the jokes, the silly faces and bubbly personality.

How you drove your brother crazy sometimes.

You were the funny one, he was the serious one. The Ginger Brothers. He wore glasses, you did not.

I always thought of you as part of two. Two peas in a pod, even though you were the younger brother.

I remember joking with you during the long bus rides. I was pleasant to everyone and in a casual way, our interactions had gradually extended to that gray place between acquaintance and friend.

Then again, I was in high school and you were in middle school. I couldn’t say that I took you seriously, but any gap in age was bridged by humor. I could be silly sometimes and you made me smile too. And I learned that your humor belied a deep intelligence I hadn’t encountered in many of my peers.

It was such a gray time. And a ginger ray of sunshine was a welcome gift.

I remember the day you gave me your necklace. I think I commented on how cool it was. You had two, and you gave me one. I was surprised, people rarely gave me gifts. I thought you were joking.

But you weren’t.

I was concerned, a bit, that it might have been some sort of gesture. In my limited experience, guys give gifts with strings. So I was on guard for the next few days, but nothing changed.

You were silly and charming as always and didn’t give me moon eyes. Thank goodness!

We could be friends.

Thank goodness, it was nothing more than a kindness; not even a motive, just selfless and almost thoughtless giving. The innocence of children.

I wore that necklace for a time. A gray string connected to spikes shaped into a cross. It was the perfect mix of gothy and xian that I could get away with wearing it and it was the perfect example of my style.

Time flew by so fast…

I left.

I barely remembered.

I went to college.

Two years later you were dead.

Like a pebble of ice, I could not define the sense of loss. Unlike the sense of not seeing someone during the day to day, how do you fill that sense with the knowledge that you can’t even remember the last time you saw someone? Someone you will never see again?

The why was a mystery. It was sudden, quick, and hopefully painless.

Rumors -stupid and vicious- were thankfully silenced. A funeral was held. Memorial passed.

But I was over 300 miles away, and completely off the radar. Frozen, I mourned from afar.

A distant sadness. Regret. It was a selfish grief. Resolving the smile of potential with the cold clasp of the grave. Realizing that the ginger peas were now a ginger pea, I would flip back through the fuzzy memories and try to remember.

But it was like grasping space or embracing a galaxy. Futile, impossible, and vaguely insulting.

If I had known how short the time would be…

I found the necklace again. Somehow, it has survived several moves and stayed with me. I took it as a sign.

A way I could remember you.

For over a year, every morning, I’d look in the mirror, see the necklace, and remember. It wasn’t a prominent display, but it was enough.

The only time someone commented on it was during warmer weather when an observant professor noticed. I’d been in his office hours for years, trying to understand some difficult classes that he taught, and during that time, I had never worn jewelry. I explained, haltingly, that I was remembering you.

But I didn’t say that your memory was drifting farther and farther away from me.

Over time, the necklace seemed to get heavier and heavier. I experienced neck pain and migraines, but it was a small price to pay. No longer a memory, the piece had become more like penance.

I could barely remember your smile. I was chasing a phantom and the memories faded like mist in the summer heat.

All I had left was the memory of your smile and that twinkle in your eye.

And then the necklace broke.

I held the broken string in one hand and the cross pendant in the other. It couldn’t be fixed, I didn’t have a chain to put the pendant on.

And I swore I heard the wind whisper that it was time to move on.

Even if my cynical mind denied it; -sign or not- the necklace could no longer be worn.

You were more than a piece of metal and string. I might have forgotten so much, but you never slipped far from my mind.

The irony of memories is that you always remember someone being the same as the last time you saw them. 

You could have finished college and started a career by now. You could have married the girl of your dreams and had your own ginger child.

So much that could have been.

Like a story forever incomplete -or prematurely ended.

If a “being” or “god” is responsible for your demise, I’d like to know why “THEY” thought you needed to go. I’m still angry and sad about that.

I’m sorry.

I miss you.

I still remember…

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A Message to Burn

Image credit: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/aug/15/1910-fire-region-consumed/#/0

They will never know how much you swallowed. They will never understand how much it hurt. Hindsight can only glance at the depths of emotional gradation sinking deeper and deeper in the well of yesterday.

You are completely validated in your anger.

The forest steams in the late afternoon sun, the stench of smoke and ash sinks into your bones. Grey and coals blanket your feet, the stoic fossils of trees list in anguish as their twisted fingers impale the sky. Sparks still pop, but more in hush and awe at the aftermath. Heat sears your feet, the white ash hides the glowing heart of flame hunkering down for the moment but ready to rise anew.

You wonder if it should rain. The clouds froth overhead, fading from light to dark and back again, mirroring your tumultuous thoughts. Should you have mercy or should you add more fuel?

Weariness descends suddenly. The cinders in your palm sting and gnaw greedily at your melting skin. Pain inflicts you despite the death of the forest -as if the trees had infused their agony into your flesh.

Should you persist? Or should you forgive?

Thunder rumbles, lightning forks through the clouds. Darkness falls, a final curtain. A fat droplet slaps your cheek -more follow. Stinging droplets of ice prickle the carcass of the smoldering forest; steam sings as the liquid infuses the veins of fire.

The embers flicker in your hand. Rain torrents with wrath and fury, each drop a tiny dagger of retaliation. You thought the fire to be all-consuming, but underestimated the rage of the skies.

A final song of sorrow, ash slogs into mud, the caramelized trees surrender their orange flame for blacked rags. A cleansing rain that moistens the dust and death with the promise of something new.

You know that it will take time to heal.

The wet streaks on your face aren’t (just) rain.

The Rain Never Stops; So Buy an Umbrella

They said that rain was the tears of God falling from the sky to spritz the earth with mud and reflection. Directors tend to use rain as a tropism for overcoming, for sadness, for hope despite the circumstances. Some countries see rain as the precursor for disaster and devastation.

And yet we cannot survive without water, falling from the sky.

The rain is my favorite part of the day. The sun has its moments, and the soft crystal sheer of sunlit rays filtering through the forest brings its own soothing odyssey. But the gentle pitter-patter of rain on leaves, the soothing hum of water striking metal roofs, and the memory-laden significance in the gentle sway of the windshield wipers during a travel bring forth the kind and relaxing sensation that all is well.

Nothing bad has happened on a rainy day.

It’s the sunny days that bring forth the bold cruelty of distant and now-forgotten shadow people. As if in mockery,  a cheerful day contained the intense sadism of selfishness. If victims are found by night, their aggressors walk unashamed in the day.

If the mind is a body of scars, then the rain is the cooling balm on the inflamed welts of yesterday. Tomorrow is another day, so close your eyes and let the moisture sink into the loam. Water your plants, talk to your plants and give them some love.

Instead of pets, plants are free to house, require no down payment or rental fees, and will not need to be neutered or spayed. They gently turn toward the sun, require watering weekly, and grow thicker, taller, bushier, and healthier over time.

Each with their own temperaments and expectations. Each needing water, but not too much water. Each needing sunlight, but not too much sun. Each needing earth, but the right kind of earth…

Each needing a well-balanced environment.

So balance.

Delicately.

And bring your umbrella.

As it continues to rain.

 

Cold Searing Reality

He dreams of blood and knives all the time
In waking moments the copper and iron mix to taint his fingertips
At night, he’s surrounded by strangers; he is a stranger to himself
The mirror is a fog of gray and blur-
There is nothing to see that he wants to see
There is nothing he can say to make himself real.

Less of a who and more of a what
Busy shuffling life and drama to the front
Once more drowning himself till the end
Until he, again, doesn’t know who he is
But part of him wants it that way
It’s just too complicated, there are no answers
And no one to put his questions

He’s tired of being just another brittle cup
To eek out another drop of water for the starving souls around
How long until the sun cracks these fragile edges?
How long until they realize he’s not just a tool for others?
They slice him up and divvy the spoils, everyone gets a piece
All that’s left are the bones of anguish, no silence or peace.

He is alone.
That is the worst part of it all.
Everyone has someone and he is just one.
Still.
Again.
And he doesn’t want to wallow in self-pity
But, he can’t help how he feels and he’s tired of being silent.

He dreams of darkness and red
A violent demise to this fear and dread
A soft and muted gray nestled on the sunrise of
Each and every day.
He doesn’t enjoy being despised, he just wants to be
Himself without being penalized.

Why do hurtful people always have power?
Why do they always need a victim?
Don’t they know he has more important things on his mind?
Than wasting energy just trying to survive them, and himself,
And this godforsaken world?
Busy delaying him with petty battles when he’s trying to win
The bigger war.

What is he becoming?
What is he supposed to be
Where is he going?
Is this ever going to end?
How can he make a new beginning
When he doesn’t know where or who or what he is?

For someone supposedly smart
He never has the answers to the questions that plague him
He leaves the room for a cage, the cage for a glass box
The glass box for a room with walls
No windows, no switches to unlock
Nothing but a series of boxes
An echo of chains.

And he must put this away now
He must fold all this away into yet another safe
Housed in the closet
At the end of the hall
Behind the barricaded door
In the abandoned mansion encompassed by the impenetrable forest.

He has failed again.
Containment has been breached, and the agony pours out
In waves of fury, in ice trailing through his veins
In the kiss of Judas stealing the breath from his soul
In the hands of betrayal wrapped around his neck
Grin and whisper that they want him to stay
Then wake him up to kill him again.

Sometimes it’s like he’s not even there
Unless they want someone to blame
He’s not even there
Unless there is someone at fault
He’s not even there
Unless someone needs to be punished.

He isn’t even there.
You have to be a person to be real.
But what does it even matter?
People have no rights at all.
He’s just a leftover script
Of their desire
Just a robot’s soul that they killed.

Damnable Cannibal

Utensils, just so.
fold the napkins
decant the wine
lay the toast
crumble the sugar cubes
that’s the water glass
sterling silver knives.

Aerate the stemware
polish furiously
the butter pat
gleams in the candlelight
ceramics, not plastic
please seat yourself
ice and champagne.

Smile and steam
the platter arrives
salt and oil
the meat is resting
cloves and thyme
would you like red or white?
toss a salad.

Scream, Grace
the head of the table
chiming glass
shiny serrated knife
carving fork
yes, medium rare
thin strips on her plate.

A hiccup in silence
shred a dinner roll
curiously red
he prefers the white
have a bite
his lips stain the rims of the glass
she swallows.

Happy Anniversary
she tries to smile back
shaking fingers
pain and numb
a sip of water
missed you too
may I carve you another slice?

Nauseous and faint
she chews delicately
napkin folded neatly
sweaty forehead
mismatched earrings
his savage smile
bloody ring.

The fading blue and purple bruise
matched his tie
it’s perfect
but today can be a good day
another bite
couples compromise
plastic laughter.

Made it myself
a new recipe
how’s the temperature dear?
best meat in town
the heart beats loudly
carve off another strip
the muscle stutters.

Laughter
the chandelier winks
lay down the fork
empty chest cavity
he can’t help but grin
her tears
blood taints the white wine glass.

Yet another slice
her heart labors now
another strip of flesh
he wets his lips
it’s almost gone
want the last slice?
the fork jabs the meat.

Lovingly fed
they consumed
the final pieces
of her heart
tenderized flesh
the heartbeat finally fades
he licked his fingers.

Clear the feast
she collapses
white wine splashes the floor
blood pools
we can get that stain out
hiccup and choke
she didn’t need it anyway.

He poured her a glass
this time of red
drink
the taste of copper
with plum highlights
she couldn’t drink fast enough
no more pain.

You missed some
he smiles again
the tablecloth will never be the same
flickering candles
I don’t have a heart, Charlie (she gasps)
I know, Grace
you didn’t need it anyway…

The cleaned dishes sparkled
cloying bouquets reek
mourners in the plot
walk through the valley
cloudy sky
black satin gowns
wet dank soil.

For your loss
attendees trickle away like sand
he stands alone now
leaning over the pine box
carves another strip
the hole bleeds in the dull light
bye-bye Grace.

He always liked her heart the best.

The Dark Tower (2017)*: To Archive with The Great Wall

*minimal spoilers ahead

Oh, look! Another film based-on-written-material which will disappoint readers everywhere. My friend (white) was pissed that the integrity of the story was supposedly compromised by the casting of the gunslinger as a black dude, but that’s another, kinda racist, story.

#StirThePot.

I like Stephen King books-become-movies, but I haven’t read the books/graphic novels behind this one. I blame the local library for starting at book 4. Consequently, I have no prior expectations going in nor terrible disappointment coming out.

Okay, I lied, I had some disappointment.

If you do go to watch this, bring a healthy bag of sarcasm, there are plenty of opportunities for dark jokes and satire. I was blessed with a movie companion to whom I could whisper and receive jokes which helped make the film more bearable.

As usual, I’ll protract the following, this time with spoilers. I don’t have time to pussy foot around:

  • Plot
  • Action
  • Characters
  • Annoyances

Continue reading The Dark Tower (2017)*: To Archive with The Great Wall

Squandered

Picture credit: https://mentalnote8.wordpress.com/tag/betrayal/

The thought slammed into my brain moments ago. A cumulation of rumination, you could say. Friends fade and fall away like the petals of a dying flower in the fall. We were never ready to commit, that or I had committed too soon. To stay. To patch your pieces, to hold you down, to back you up, to slay your dragons and watch your back.

I was the only one who whispered forever when you called us best friends. An incomplete vow of one-sided loyalty. You would abandon me to the fall, let the dragons surround me, let my enemies tear me asunder, and leave me alone on the battlefield of your intention. Like a fool, I rushed to your side when the enemy encompassed you, threw myself between you and disaster, nursed you back to health by feeding you broth from my very bones. But I would be alone in my darkest hour when the cold clasp of defeat would chain me. My summons for aid would be ignored. I would be left in the cold. You would replace me at your table with another; I would be your forgotten knight who no longer served a purpose.

You would fail me in my time of need.

I have learned these lessons well. Trust none, guard your heart, keep the armor wrapped tighter than skin. Await betrayal with expectation.

Loyalty… An abused principle, meaningless in the face of self-preservation. A slaughter of lies -tell me again that I am nothing but a ghost who refuses to see the truth.

We were never friends. I was just your shield, your sword, an arrow in your quiver. Just a tool for you to use then discard.

My life is not a cloth, to be used then tossed away when it pleases you. I am not your toy that you can bring out then put back again. I am not an orchard, to be hacked down and shredded when it seems good to you. I am not yesterday’s fashion to be donated and tossed into the past.

I would have given so much in exchange for a solid shred of loyalty. It is frightening the currency I would pay to secure such a bounty. As such, it can never be purchased, only earned and won.

I’ve learned to hold back. You. Taught. Me: to wrap my intentions tightly to my soul and give nothing away; to house every innocent thought in the banks of Switzerland, and hold my very soul on a distant, unreachable planet; to entrust my virtue to a tower of solitude and my honor to the depths of Atlantis.

You taught me to erase my face. To collect the masks that emote beyond what I could ever hope to express. To abide in shadows and feed on the dregs to soothe my pain. To shy away at a touch, a word, a breath on my skin. You taught me to stain my teeth in my own blood for your sake. To strip away muscle and sinew, tendon and veins, and grind my bones to dust.

You taught me that I was nothing. I heard you when you said that I was worthless. Read your lips when they spat at me with venomed fervor. I witnessed when you took my hand in yours and nailed it to your wall of trophies. I felt the knives go in, felt them slip through my skin, glance off bone and punch through my organs. I swam in the lake of my blood, a carcass stripped of every useful component.

I know your kind. You’re no friend of mine.

Even after I have long since departed, why do you imagine my shadow in every crevice? I would never return, not for all the gold possessed by the Vatican.

You can be the sun and burn yourself to nothing. I care not. I have resigned as your messenger. This whipping boy is on indefinite furlough.

The fire immolates the empty frame of what was. A hollow mockery chortling on the back burner of our past. I only like the scars that remain, for they remind me not to play the fool twice. The story tattooed on my skin spell the tale, a lesson learned without remorse. I do not mind the pain when the moral is taught.

I only regret putting a face to the name

Betrayer.

Were We EVER Ready?!

Death is the date you forget
The promise that time corrects
None can dodge their fate.

Death is the silent sniper
When ready, aim then fire
No one is exempt from this tax collector’s tally.

Death floats in on quiet wing
To ease the final moments’ sting
Into a final peaceful solitude.

Death trails fingers through rough cotton sails
Monitors and machines pump and wail
Roll call sounds through each flatline.

Live by the sword
Die by the gun
Bullets are forever.

For all the posturing and politics
The glories of dynasty
Fade into the sands of time.

No one is left behind
But everything remains, to find
A final separation of man and possession.

A final surprise
In dull empty eyes
Death will literally take your breath away…

As the dive from the beach
Robs you of your final speech
Let the waves comfort you now.

As your shallow husk
Is buried without fuss
Take your grudges with you.

Death makes even religions a liar
The final equalizer
Prince and pauper fall as one.

Chase with desperation the chalice of immortality
Ignore the human fallacy
To waste precious time in futility.

But isn’t Death just a carriage
A taxi you missed today
That may ferry you tomorrow?

A Chaste Cuddle

“Philia (philía, Greek: φιλία) is the love between friends as close as siblings in strength and duration. The friendship is the strong bond existing between people who share common values, interests or activities.” –The Four LovesWikipedia

Boyfriends betray you, girlfriends lie;

Husbands divorce, wives cheat;

[Boyfriends lie, husbands cheat;

Girlfriends betray you, wives divorce;]

Partners leave, friends-with-benefits implode;

Keeping it casual gets complicated.

You don’t have to kiss
You don’t have to  grope
Skip the flowers, skip the wine
Skip the chocolates and obligation

You don’t even have to speak
Not a single word in exchange
Silence and empathy
Someone to hold.

You don’t have to pressurize
You don’t have to perform,
Just a hug, once or twice
Just a few moments of rapport.

You don’t have to get it up
You don’t have to go down;
Just a shoulder to cry on
Just a shoulder to lean on.

Keep your clothes on,
Keep your hands to yourself
Dim the romance, blow out the candles
Turn on the lights.

Humans have the need to connect
Brain to brain, philia love;
No “heart-strings”, no encumbrance
No romantic entanglements

You don’t have to be anything more
Than a friend of excellent quality
Nothing more, nothing less
Than your unwavering loyalty

There is no “next level”
You are on the plateau
The only question left
Is one of trust and control.

Can you be trusted
To cuddle -platonically-
Without an expectation
Or pressure for intercourse?

A friendship as strong
And unbreakable as graphene
Is hard to find -harder still
The unconditional selfless accord.